How investing in technology can help improve healthcare workforce shortages and hospital safety

Hospitals are high-stress environments. Patients seek treatment, family members await news, and health care workers work to save lives. Now add to that the prevailing threat of violence in hospitals and it is no surprise that healthcare professionals are quitting, retiring or simply moving on.

By 2033, the United States will face a shortage of up to 124,000 doctors and will also need to hire 200,000 nurses each year to keep up with demand and replace retiring nurses. A healthcare worker has a greater chance of being assaulted than a prison guard or a police officer, according to the American Hospital Association’s podcast, Advancing Health.

So here you have the people we depend on to care for us at our most vulnerable points, people who save lives, leave hospitals. In May 2022, the American surgeon, Dr. Vivek Murthy, a guide to the burnout crisis for healthcare workers across the country, citing unsafe conditions as a factor. Now the problem continues to rise – with no end in sight.

The costs of violence

Many healthcare organizations don’t have data to track incidents or severity, so they don’t know the cost of turnover. Well, there you have it:

  • Re-staffing: The cost to replace ONE nurse averages more than $50,000/year and $150,000/year for traveling nurses.
  • Fines: Workplace violence OSHA fines exceed $100,000, and when an organization is found guilty of not taking adequate steps to keep workers safe, on average, this can exceed $3 million for a jury award.

Hospitals take a look at the costs associated with higher security measures, technology implementation and are overwhelmed when these are strategic investments that come with a very positive ROI. Compared to the costs of turnover and fines, the benefits of investing in technology to streamline and automate security measures are very clear.

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Managing your workforce and visitor access

Managing the entire lifecycle of employees, visitors, partners, suppliers and contractors with automated workflows can streamline access and tighten security in hospitals. Managing badges, credentials, assets and visitors based on identities and access makes it easier to have the right people with the right tools at the right time while integrating with other organizational systems. Improving efficiency and safety provides peace of mind and a satisfying work environment. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff can come to work every day feeling safer and more comfortable.

In reality – making an “investment” in a Physical Identity Access Management [PIAM] solution would improve workflows, sense of security, employee satisfaction and would save healthcare organizations significant budgets in both the short and long term.

How can a PIAM solution help prevent violence and improve employee retention in hospitals?

  • Manage the entire visitor lifecycle, from the time the visitor is pre-registered to the time they check out.
  • Integrate with Human Resource Management System [HRMS] and leverage identities, roles and records managed by the Human Resource Department to provide consistency in cardholder provisioning and delivery across physical security systems.
  • Automate physical access control system [PACS] cardholder processes by providing and reporting to administration new hires, terminations and change requests based on security policies.
  • Reduce the manual interventions required to deliver these identities into existing PACS processes for identity and credential management.
  • Ensure compliance with HIPPA guidelines.
  • Establish a framework to support disaster recovery, background checks, visitor management, building automation, IT security convergence, etc.
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Hospitals need to collect the right data so they can get approvals to integrate innovative technology like PIAM solutions into their infrastructure. This would save time, money and most importantly – lives.

Photo: okanmetin, Getty Images

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